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Variability of geotechnical properties of a fresh landslide soil deposit

Zhao, H.F., Zhang, L.M., Xu, Y., Chang, D.S.
Engineering geology 2013 v.166 pp. 1-10
engineering, field experimentation, landslides, particle size, soil heterogeneity
Natural soils exhibit large variations in their engineering properties. It is essential to characterize the variability of common design soil properties within a large representative soil element and to investigate the effect of sample size on the variability of these soil properties. In this study, field tests on two 1.0m cubes were conducted at a recent landslide site. Each cube was divided into 64 unit cubes of 0.25m size, and adjacent unit cubes were combined into samples of 0.5m and 0.75m sizes. The variability of dry density, mean particle size (D₅₀) and coefficient of uniformity (Cᵤ) is quantified at different size scales. Random field theory is adopted to characterize the spatial soil variability within these two 1.0m cubes. Both the point coefficient of variation (COVₚ) and the coefficient of variation of the spatial average (COVₐ) of each of the three soil parameters decrease rapidly as the sample size increases. However the mean values of these soil parameters are insensitive to the sample size. The COVₚ of dry density is smaller than those of D₅₀ and Cᵤ. The scale of fluctuation for dry density is much larger than those for D₅₀ and Cᵤ.